The President's Perspective
Greetings and Happy Halloween Week! It’s hard to believe that it’s time for ghosts, goblins, and other scary characters, but here we are. Halloween traditions change from generation to generation, but for centuries societies have used this time of year to celebrate the end of summer and the start of winter.
The last of October also marks the end of our month-long recognition of the cooperative model and the many benefits cooperatives provide to their member owners and their communities. A new October tradition that we have been touting is Cyber Security Month, and many of our compliance articles as well as social media posts over the past month have been dedicated to raising awareness and educating your credit union employees on how to better protect the organization.
Tomorrow is “Town Hall Tuesday” for Dakota Credit Union Leaders
In our ongoing effort to keep Dakota credit union leaders informed about current legislative and regulatory advocacy issues impacting our industry, as well as updates on awareness, and educational opportunities, we are hosting our DakCU 4th Quarter CEO “Town Hall Tuesday,” tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. (CT). Affiliated CEOs should already have the meeting link that was sent via email earlier in the month; feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to join us.
Get Ready for SWAP
Speaking of our Town Hall, another great reason to tune in tomorrow is to hear more about our plans for the Credit Union Awareness Campaign. We have some very exciting news to share about how we are going to “power-up” the campaign by taking it local, across the Dakotas. We have dubbed the “new and improved” initiative SWAP (State-Wide Awareness Program). The campaign will continue to be fueled by contributors, but we will be controlling the input and the output and will be asking our members to support this both in terms of your in-house talent, and financially based on an equitable measure of your credit union’s assets. We think you will be very pleased with the direction of the campaign!
It’s Do or Die Time on the IRS Surveillance Proposal
Last week, congressional leadership recommended revisions to the proposal to require increased financial institution reporting to the Internal Revenue Service. As expected, these proposed revisions do not address credit union concerns. Reports emerged of potentially raising the $600 account threshold in original proposals to $10,000, this has led to a number of counter bills and sign-on letters in both Chambers. In the Senate, 47 Republican Senators, including all four Dakota Senators (Thune-SD, Rounds-SD, Hoeven-ND, Cramer-ND), introduced legislation to block the IRS reporting requirements currently included in the budget reconciliation, Build Back Better, package.
In the House, nearly half, more than 200 members of Congress wrote to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen last Thursday re-asserting concerns with this proposal. What we see is that every time this proposal changes, it gets worse. In a communication to league presidents last week, Ryan Donovan, CUNA’s Executive Vice President and Chief Advocacy Officer indicated that “for the country’s minimum wage workforce, there is no fundamental difference between a $600 reporting threshold and a $10,000 reporting threshold,” Donovan also said, “Now proponents expect credit unions and banks to play arbiter, declaring what does and doesn’t meet proposed exceptions like wages and down payments. They’ve just taken something very invasive and made it incredibly more so while turning an average compliance bad dream into a waking nightmare.”
CUNA, leagues, and credit unions have all expressed serious concerns over the compliance burden and increased privacy risks that would come with the increased reporting. Credit union advocates have sent nearly 600,000 messages, almost 12,000 from Dakotas alone, detailing these concerns to Capitol Hill using CUNA’s Grassroots Action Center. Many Dakotans and Americans across the county have made it clear they do not want the IRS obtaining data on their spending and deposits. We stand firm in our support of any efforts to ensure this critical IRS surveillance language in NOT included in any legislation package.
Donation Made on Behalf of Dakota Credit Unions
On a happier note, while I was recently in Fargo for meetings, I had the opportunity to present the proceeds from our Dakota Credit Union Foundation’s “Play Yellow” golf scramble that was held last August. After receiving a Miracle Match from CO-OP Financial Services, we were able to contribute $6,000 to support Sanford Children’s Hospital. Once again, we thank you for your support. We plan to continue our annual Golf Scramble next year, so if you missed out this year – you can join us then! (Photo L to R: Shawn Marie Brummer, DakCU Communications Specialist; Hillery Mork, Development Manager, Sanford Health Foundation; and Jeff Olson, DakCU President/CEO.)
Dakotas’ Credit Unions Celebrate ICU Day
I was also very pleased to see so many of our Dakota credit unions engaged and participating in ICU Day last week. Any time we have an opportunity to promote the advantages of the cooperative financial services option that our industry provides, it’s a win for all of us! We should all continue to do our part to bring attention to the #CUDifference.
Once again, our states’ governors were engaged, officially proclaiming it ICU Day in their respective states! Sharing that “win” on social media and displaying the signed proclamations is another great way to add an “official” feeling to our celebrations. I hope you were able to make the most of the day!
On a side note, I was asked to be a guest on First Community Credit Union’s special ICU Day Podcast, "Let's CU Succeed!" with FCCU’s Katie Nehl, Communications Manager, to discuss the history of credit unions and why they are so important to consumers. You can listen here: https://apple.co/3pizIMP.
Also, the World Council of Credit Unions held a free webinar in conjunction with ICU Day, “Building Financial Health for a Brighter Tomorrow.” The virtual event featured presentations examining financial health and all the complexities associated with that term for credit unions and their members. You can view the recorded version here.
Storytelling – a Marketing Bonus!
“Telling your credit union’s story” was the central theme of this year’s New Ideas Conference. It is also going to be a critical component as we move forward with the credit union awareness campaign as well as supporting the National Credit Union Foundation’s “financial well-being for all” mission. We know that our Dakota credit unions are doing great things in their communities – and we want to “make some noise” about it. With this in mind, I would like to send a shout out to Joey Rotert, VP Marketing & Business Development at Levo Credit Union (Sioux Falls, SD.) He was the special guest on the local KELOLAND LIVING broadcast, where he talked about how the Levo Foundation gives back to the community in a big way! This is a great example of “telling your credit union’s story,” something we all need to do – and keep doing!
Have a great week,
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